Friends of the Border Update 1: Greetings from McAllen, Texas

Jan 27, 2022

Hola amigos,

Greetings from McAllen, Texas!  Fr. Danny, Laura, Dolores, Terry, and I arrived safe and sound, after a very early start and a smooth morning of travel, in McAllen.  We checked into the Basilica Hotel (more on the Basilica and its interesting history in a future update!), had our first of many Mexican meals, and then proceeded to organize the supplies that St. Ignatius parish generously donated.  We already packed 250 goodie bags for migrant kids with coloring pages, crayons, and stickers, and we have enough supplies to pack another 250 in the coming days.  THANK YOU, St. Ignatius Loyola community for your AMAZING generosity!

I’ve asked Terry Quinn to tell you, in his own words, what today’s packing meant to him:

In one of the Readings at Mass today Father Danny noted, “Happiness flows from gratitude.”  This was evident today when the Flying Five (Christine, Laura, Father Danny, Dolores and me) spent nearly two hours packing small Ziploc bags with crayons, stickers, and coloring books.  Simple and menial work on our part but we are filled with gratitude to all the members of the St Ignatius Parish who so generously donated nearly 100 pounds of supplies that we brought with us on our flight.  More happiness is in store for us tomorrow when we bring the coloring books and supplies to the camp in Reynosa. Many of the children and their parents have suffered trauma but the simple gift of coloring books is bound to bring a smile as they while away unending boredom and anxiety.  Thank you to all those in the parish who generously offered so many supplies that fill all of us with gratitude and will bring its own joy and happiness to the children.

Here’s a photo of (left to right) Dolores, Laura, Terry, and Fr. Danny hard at work (but also with a lot of good-natured fun) packing the bags.

For dinner, we met up with Fr. Brian and Fr. Louis, the two priests who invited us down to the border and who will be our guides on this trip.  Here we all are, tired after a long day, satisfied after a delicious meal, and filled with gratitude for all of you, for each other, and for our Lord, who accompanies us on this journey.

Tomorrow morning, we plan to head to the migrant camp on the other side of the border in Reynosa, Mexico.  If you would like to learn more about the camp, living conditions there, and the challenges facing the migrants, Fr. Brian and Fr. Louis assured us that this article provides a realistic, if stark, portrayal of life in the camp.  Please pray for us as we head there tomorrow, to witness, to accompany, and to share with our brothers and sisters in need.

From left to right, Dolores, Terry, Fr. Brian, Fr. Danny, Christine, Fr. Louis, and Laura

In today’s Mass reading, Paul reminds his friend Timothy: “to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.” (2 Timothy 1:6).  We are grateful for the many gifts that we have been given.  Please pray with me that the Holy Spirit helps us to take those gifts and stir them into a bright and loving flame and to then share both those gifts and the warmth of that flame with all those we meet on our journey.

With blessings and thanks for your support,